CES 2011

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Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 09, 2010  |  First Published: Jan 10, 2010  |  1 comments

My impression of Westinghouse LCD TVs has steadily improved with each one I've reviewed, so I was eager to see its new line of LED edge-lit models. The larger screen sizes—42, 46 (pictured), and 55 inches—are 120Hz, and all are quite slender as you would expect from LED edge lighting. The 46- and 55-inchers will be available in the fourth quarter, while the smaller sets will ship in April. Prices were not disclosed, but a company rep said it would be "comparable to CCFL pricing today."

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 09, 2010  |  0 comments

Samsung's booth was awash in new LCD TVs—no less than eight lines of slim LED edge-lit sets and six lines of conventional CCFL models. As many have expected, there are no new LED backlit sets, which Samsung claims are too expensive and power hungry for the current consumer marketplace.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 09, 2010  |  0 comments

I'm very happy to report that Samsung is still bullish on plasma, introducing three new slim lines and two standard-depth lines. All five lines feature a new Clear Image Panel, in which the outer filter glass is affixed directly to the plasma panel with no air gap. This allows them to be thinner and achieve lower black levels in the presence of ambient light.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 09, 2010  |  0 comments

Samsung's new Blu-ray players are an impressive lot, with four new models that boast boot and load times of 15 seconds. All but the entry-level BDP-C5500 have built-in wireless DLNA and Internet capabilities with 1GB of internal memory (the C5500 is "WiFi-ready"). The BDP-C7500 is a high-style, wall-mountable design with a 2-channel analog output, while the C6500 has a 7.1-channel analog output.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 09, 2010  |  2 comments

As you may already know, the intellectual property rights for HQV video processing were purchased by IDT some time ago, and the company has been working on new chips since then. I've seen demos of prototypes a couple of times, but I was under NDA (non-disclosure agreement) until now. I can finally talk about the HQV Vida chip, which will soon be available in AVRs, Blu-ray players, and video processors.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 09, 2010  |  0 comments

Many video reviewers use the original <I>HQV Benchmark</I> DVD and Blu-ray test discs in their evaluations of displays, players, and processors, but those discs are getting a bit long in the tooth, and there are a couple of errors on them that limit their usefulness in certain tests. Now, IDT has released version 2.0 of both discs, and they look fantastic. (During the development process, IDT solicited feedback from several reviewers, including Tom Norton and me, and I'm gratified that they actually took our advice.)

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 09, 2010  |  1 comments

When the 3D Blu-ray spec was announced, everyone said it would require HDMI 1.4, which implied the need for new HDMI hardware. But then I learned that the Sony PlayStation 3, which has HDMI 1.3, can be updated to provide 3D capabilities with new firmware. That seemed odd, so I visited the HDMI Licensing booth and found out that all the versions of HDMI are merely specifications that define what features they will support, and manufacturers are free to implement all, some, or none of them. Also, HDMI 1.3 and 1.4 are capable of the same maximum bandwidth—10.2Gbps.

uavKim Wilson  |  Jan 09, 2010  |  6 comments

I've seen the XStreamHD satellite service demonstrated for the last couple of years at CES, but so far, it hasn't actually been available to consumers. Well, that's finally about to change&#151;the service is due to launch on April 30. It allows users to download movies, music videos, and games from a satellite to a hard-disk-based server, from which they can be streamed to several receivers in the home&#151;in fact, up to four HD streams can be served simultaneously. Users have the option of renting or buying the content, and they can even order physical discs if they wish. Movies are downloaded in 1080p/24 format with up to 7.1 DTS-HD MA audio (Dolby TrueHD is not supported as of now), and the server can download up to two titles at once, each with a maximum bandwidth of 100Mbps per stream.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 09, 2010  |  3 comments

The model number may be a mouthful, but this mammoth LCD TV from Vizio is certainly an eyeful. Measuring 72 inches diagonally, it offers Sensio 3D with active shutter glasses, Vizio Internet Apps (which provide access to online content from a wide variety of sources), WirelessHD connectivity (the 60GHz variety of wireless HDMI), LED local dimming, and 480Hz refresh rate (actually 240Hz with backlight scanning). It should be available in the third quarter of this year at a cost of&#151;wait for it&#151;less than $4000! The XVTPRO will also be available with screen sizes of 55 and 47 inches for even less.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 09, 2010  |  0 comments

Thin was definitely in at Vizio, which showed several super-slim LCD TVs with LED edge-lighting as a concept demo. The 42-inch Blade seen here in profile is only 6.8mm (1/4-inch) thick, making it the thinnest flat panel I've seen at the show so far, with the electronics in an outboard box. The 26-inch version is 1/2-inch thick with the electronics in the base.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 09, 2010  |  2 comments

About a year ago, Philips introduced an LCD TV with an aspect ratio of 21:9 (2.33:1), but it was never made available in the US. Now, Vizio is working on the same idea as demonstrated by this concept piece. It measures 58 inches diagonally with a pixel resolution of 2560x1080, perfect for displaying movies without the hated letterbox bars. The prototype uses CCFL backlighting, but the final version could use LEDs. I was told it could become an actual product by the third quarter of this year and that it would be "Vizio priced."

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 09, 2010  |  1 comments

Another Vizio concept demo was a 56-inch "Quad HD" LCD with a pixel resolution of 3840x2160. What a picture! Super-sharp and detailed, a noticeable improvement over 1080p even at a reasonable viewing distance. Initial applications include medical imaging and other high-res rendering, but it could find its way into the consumer marketplace if and when 4K content becomes available.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 08, 2010  |  0 comments

One of the highlights of CES for me is the DEG (Digital Entertainment Group) awards event, at which content providers, hardware manufacturers, and retailers are recognized for their excellence and innovation. There are three awards for hardware&#151;Sight (video displays), Source (Blu-ray players and the like), and Sound (electronics and speakers). As a side note, I've suggested more than once to the DEG that the Sound category should be split into two&#151;Sound (electronics) and Speakers. Otherwise, one or the other type of product goes unrecognized each year, yet both are essential for a complete home-entertainment experience.

Tom Norton  |  Jan 06, 2010  |  First Published: Jan 07, 2010  |  1 comments

If I tried to list all the new Samsung HDTVs launched at the show I'd go blind, so with deference to those who say I already am, and in the interests of my being still able to review a few of them later this year, I'll hit the highlights. With a full, new lineup of HDTVs (LED sidelit LCDs, conventional CCFL&#151;fluorescent&#151;backlit LCDs, and plasmas), new BD players with faster claimed booting and loading times, and three complete BD audio systems, Samsung is ready for the 2010 retail wars.

Tom Norton  |  Jan 06, 2010  |  First Published: Jan 07, 2010  |  0 comments

Sharp's big announcement, apart from listing of their new models, was Quad Pixel Technology. Instead of the usual red, green, and blue sub-pixels that make up each pixel in the LCD image, Sharp adds a fourth, yellow-filtered sub-pixel. This is said to increase the number of colors up to 1 trillion. But who's counting?